Mouth-watering “MINI PIES” (Book Review)…and Perfect Pie Crust Recipe

Baking mini pies is a marvel of an idea, of course.   Even Bakers’ Square pies only look great when displayed at the counter…a slice of the pie just doesn’t have the same appeal as the uncut pie.   So bite-size mini pies would be the way to go.

A new book of Mini Pies was sent to me (thanks again to Beth Cook and Ulysses Press) and it’s cute and packed with sweet and savory pie recipes…I can’t wait to try them all.  Baked fruit pies are my hubby’s favorites; I love the unbaked cream pies.

Authors Morgan Greenseth and Christy Beaver are on a mission with their book, Mini Pies…”Christy and I wanted to remove that stigma (pies can be intimidating and difficult to perfect) and make pie accessible for bakers at every level.”  There’s a whole chapter on pie crust (perfect pie crust, graham cracker crust, and even Vegan pie crust).   The next chapters (Fruit Pies, Cream Pies, Nut & Savory Pies) include the popular pies and new pie creations like Dirty Chai pie (mmm, interesting indeed!)…and I book marked Mango Cream Pie right away (that’s definitely in my to-do list!).   Whipped Cream, yes Vegan too and meringue recipes are also included in the book.   Lots of sweet tips from the authors in each recipe (I smiled at this tip on the Bourbon Pecan Pie recipe page:  “You may as well sip the remaining bourbon while your pies are in the oven.”).

Time for my pie “work-out”!   Here’s the perfect Pie Crust I followed from Morgan and Christy’s book…

PERFECT PIE CRUST

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)
6 tablespoons shortening
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons sugar
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

1.  Chop the butter and shortening into 1/4-inch pieces.  Place in the freezer to chill while you prepare the other ingredients.  (I skipped the chilling; the butter was rock-hard when taken out from the fridge.)

2.  Blend the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor.  Add the chilled shortening and process until the mixture climbs the walls of the processor bowl.  Add the butter, one piece at a time, and process thoroughly.  (I added all the butter and shortening all at one time, and let the food processor do its thing — turning the mixture into fine crumbs.)

3.  Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture comes together in a ball and makes 2 laps around the processor bowl.  (I made sure no ice was included!)

4.  Remove the dough, divide it in half, and flatten each half into a disc.  Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

BLUEBERRY PIE
I opened a can of store-bought blueberry pie filling.

5.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Generously grease a 12-cup (mini) muffin tin with cooking spray.

6.  On a thoroughly floured surface, roll out the pie crust to a thickness of 3/16 inch.  Using a 4-inch-diameter round cutter, cut 12 crusts.  (I rolled my pie disc in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and I simply used my hubby’s whisky glass for my cutter.)

7.  Using a mini cookie cutter (your choice) and leftover dough, cut out 12 shapes to use as pie toppers.  (I used a heart-shaped mini cookie cutter.)

8.  Carefully shape the crusts into the wells of the muffin tin, crimping the edges with your fingers.

9.  Fill each mini pie to the brim with the blueberry filling.  Top each mini pie with a pie topper.  (I used a small ice cream scooper.)

10.  With a pastry brush, lightly brush the pie crusts with soy milk, then sprinkle with sugar.  (I used ordinary whole milk.)

11.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crusts are golden brown.  (I was afraid filling would bubble up and run over the muffin tins, so I placed the muffin tin over a large baking tray —- Big mistake!.  The crusts didn’t brown at all.  I place the large baking tray not directly below the muffin tins…and it baked nicely after some minutes.)

Oh little gems…thanks to this wonderful Mini Pies book…I love these pies!  I highly recommend you to have this book…and wow your guests at next party!

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